The Untitled Interview #214: Starring Michael Cathro (Ha The Unclear)

Recent evidence suggests I'm quickly becoming a fan of Ha The Unclear, the New Zealand outfit with the harmonies for days and wickedly catchy, nuanced melodic rock with just a hint of pop bubbling underneath the surface.

Songwriter/singer Michael Cathro very kindly sat down and answered some queries for yours truly, and offers insights into the world of HTU. Read on for Michael's thoughts on Jeff Buckley, the recorder, his songwriting process, and Quantum Leap. And do take a gander at the band's excellent lp from last year, Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go. It's a heck of a listen. 

Fuzzy Logic: How do you do?
Michael Cathro: Well, thanks.

FL: What was the last song you listened to?
MC: Last night at a show I listened to New Gum Sarn playing "Money Talks."

FL: Playing music is:
MC: Playing God.

FL: What album most made you realize you wanted to make music?
MC: Pinpointing one particular album would be really difficult - I think Jeff Buckley's Grace had an impact on me early on.

FL: Beatles or Stones?
MC: Oh Beatles hands down.

FL: What’s your first music memory?
MC: Playing recorder at school and being really shit.

FL: Top 5 albums (of now, of this week, of ever):

Jeffrey Lewis - City and Eastern Tapes

Gang of Four - Entertainment

The Front Lawn - Songs From the Front Lawn

Morrissey - Vauxhall & I

The Moldy Peaches - The Moldy Peaches

FL: Favorite music-related movie?
MC: 40 Feet From Stardom.

FL: Half full or half empty?
MC: Half empty.

FL: What's the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
MC: Hope I didn't wet the bed.

FL: Little-known Ha The Unclear fact?
MC: Theo is from a rural Otago town called Waimate and it is one of the only places in New Zealand to have wallabies. You should see the road signs.

FL: The greatest record store in the world is:
MC: Bandcamp.

FL: What was your first show?
MC: We started under the name Baraka and the Finish Hims and we played a show at a small bar in Dunedin. While walking home a boy racer got out of his car and hit me over the head with a full beer bottle. Those two things are forever linked.

FL: Your boots were made for:
MC: Protecting my feet from the ground.

FL: Shaken or stirred?
MC: Can I say pulsed?

FL: What’s the longest flight you’ve ever been on, and where to?
MC: Coming home to New Zealand from Europe, I can't remember how long it was but I got laid over in Sydney because of volcanic ash clouds for 3 days and spent it alone in a hotel room with gastroenteritis I'm sure I picked it up from 9 hours waiting around in Heathrow.

FL: If you weren't in a band you'd be?
MC: A student.

FL: What's involved in your songwriting process?
MC: Noting down thoughts throughout the day and expanding on them later. Generating inspiration from reading. Editing, la la-ing over chord progressions. 

FL: If you were so inclined, whom would you form a tribute band in honor of?
MC: Ziggy from Quantum Leap.

FL: Best song ever written?
MC: "The Prophet Song" - Queen.

Ha The Unclear...

AS A MOVIE: Ha The Unclear is...Memento.

AS A DRINK: Ha The Unclear is...Flat White. 

AS A WEATHER EVENT: Ha The Unclear is...a puddle. 

AS A MOMENT IN HISTORY: Ha The Unclear is...the discovery of the Higgs Boson. 

AS A DENOMINATION OF CURRENCY: Ha The Unclear is...the rupee.

AS A PLACE IN WASHINGTON, DC: Ha The Unclear is...public toilets.

AS A VIDEO GAME/CHARACTER THEREIN: Ha The Unclear is...Crash Bandicoot.

AS A WORK OF LITERATURE: Ha The Unclear is...The Karamazov Brothers - Dostoevsky.

AS A HISTORICAL FIGURE: Ha The Unclear is...Siddhartha. 

AS A CAMPAIGN PROMISE: Ha The Unclear is...Put all the seagulls in a prison.

[posted 9.6.15]


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